Design and Validation of a Modular One-To-Many Actuator for a Soft Wearable Exosuit

The size, weight, and power consumption of soft wearable robots rapidly scale with their number of active degrees of freedom. While various underactuation strategies have been proposed, most of them impose hard constrains on the kinetics and kinematics of the device. Here we propose a paradigm to independently control multiple degrees of freedom using a set of modular components, all tapping power from a single motor. Each module consists of three electromagnetic clutches, controlled to convert a constant unidirectional motion in an arbitrary output trajectory. We detail the design and functioning principle of each module and propose an approach to control the velocity and position of its output. The device is characterized in free space and under loading conditions. Finally, we test the performance of the proposed actuation scheme to drive a soft exosuit for the elbow joint, comparing it with the performance obtained using a traditional DC motor and an unpowered-exosuit condition. The exosuit powered by our novel scheme reduces the biological torque required to move by an average of 46.2%, compared to the unpowered condition, but negatively affects movement smoothness. When compared to a DC motor, using the our paradigm slightly deteriorates performance. Despite the technical limitations of the current design, the method proposed in this paper is a promising way to design more portable wearable robots.


Published in:
Frontiers In Neurorobotics, 13, 39
Year:
Jun 18 2019
Publisher:
Lausanne, FRONTIERS MEDIA SA
ISSN:
1662-5218
Keywords:
Laboratories:




 Record created 2019-07-09, last modified 2019-08-30


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